April 18, 2017

Facebook has big augmented reality plans, and it wants to use its software to help developers create new AR experiences. Today, as part of its F8 developer conference, the company announced the launch of its Camera Effects Platform, which it claims will offer developers a way to add AR effects to its Facebook camera software.

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January 26, 2017

The Platform’s main focus is on two new tools. One of them is called Frame Studio, which is a web-based tool that’s open to anyone with a Facebook profile or Page. It will allow them to create and design frames that can be used as part of a Facebook profile picture or, more importantly, in the new Facebook camera app. That custom frame can then be used in the smartphone cameras of your Facebook friends, and it will even show the name of that frame creator. Be aware that the company will insist that any frame created in the tool abide by Facebook’s guidelines and also not use any trademarked images or content. You can check out the Frame Studio tool right now on Facebook.

The other new tool is AR Studio. This will allow developers to create more sophisticated AR effects such as animated frames, masks, and more. These effects can even react to motion, interactions during Facebook Live broadcasts, and more. Again, once these effects have been approved, they can be used in the new Facebook camera app for images, video or Facebook Live streaming events.

Facebook is already allowing Live users to access effects created in the new tool.

AR Studio is currently in closed beta for Mac developers. However, Facebook is already allowing Live users to access effects created in the new tool. One of them is This or That, which lets broadcasters show two options to choose from. The broadcaster’s audience then can pick which one they want to choose. The other is GIPHY Live, in a partnership with the popular GIF image service. During a live streaming event, users can comment with hashtags and the broadcaster can pick one of them and show a GIF related to that hashtag during the live stream.

Ironically, Facebook announced these new AR effects for smartphone cameras just after rival Snapchat announced a new feature called World Lenses, which lets users with the Android app add 3D AR effects in images. It’s clear that AR is becoming more important in the mobile device market, and we will see more of these kinds of effects and features show up in other camera or image-related apps in the months to come.

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